We sat down over a virtual cup of coffee in May 2020 to interview Valerie Ivancic, who works on RedShiftBio’s applications team and has recently been awarded her PhD.
Editor: Hi Valerie, thanks so much for joining us today. Congratulations on getting your PhD!
VI: Thank you for having me.
Editor: Can you tell us a bit about your background? What was your journey to working at RSB?
VI: My background is in Biochemistry and Biophysical Chemistry, and I did my graduate work at Clark University focusing on protein misfolding and amyloidosis diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes. While at Clark, my research group was one of the first to beta-test the AQS3™pro. We were very excited to run and analyze our samples on this novel technology and at the end of our beta-test, I liked the system so much I joined the company!
Editor: Please describe how the process for getting your PhD differed during the pandemic?
VI: I feel really lucky that during this difficult and strange time, my department allowed me to defend my PhD thesis virtually. The defense started with an open seminar that I presented over a Zoom meeting, followed by the closed-door defense between my committee and I. It was the exact same process, however, everything was over a Zoom meeting. I am a little saddened I won’t be able to walk in a traditional graduation ceremony, but the folks at Clark have been working hard to plan for virtual celebrations to make it feel special.
Editor: Can you tell us a bit about your role at RedShiftBio?
VI: I am an Applications Scientist at RedShiftBio and my major roles are conducting customer training sessions and demos along with running, analyzing, and presenting data.
Editor: How is the applications team adapting to the pandemic?
VI: Although we are disappointed we can’t be visiting customers and running demos as usual, we are excited to start running virtual demos and set-up new series of videos. I feel like everyone right now is adopting new ways of doing their work, and I’m very glad we have the technology to stay connected while physically distant.
Editor: What excites you most about the technology?
VI: I am most excited about the accuracy we are able to achieve by subtracting the buffer in real-time. This makes the measurement much more sensitive to observing small changes between samples, which until now, would have been difficult to detect.
Editor: If you could say one thing to potential users of the AQS3pro, what would it be?
VI: The data quality produced by our system is unmatched by other secondary structure tools and if you are interested in protein structure, we would love to show you what our new tool can do for your research!
Editor: What do you like to do in your free time?
VI: I play the viola and the violin and volunteer as a mentor in Neighborhood Strings, which is a program that offers music lessons to under-served kids in inner-city Worcester.
Editor: Thanks Valerie, and congratulations once again!
VI: Thank you.